Adventure at Atmosphere Resorts
Topside adventure at Atmosphere Resorts is not hard to come by. If you’re in the Philippines to dive, chances are good that you flew there, which means you’ll need a dry day before flying back from whence you came. Dry days can mean just relaxing at the resort, but they can also be an opportunity for exploration of the surrounding areas. Or perhaps you’re traveling with non-divers who want to stay entertained. Whatever the situation, Atmosphere Resorts can arrange several different dry outings for you depending on your particular interests.
Swim with Whale Sharks
Let’s start with the big one, literally. About 1 and ½ hour away from the resort you can swim with whale sharks in Oslob, well-known for the encounter. The activities here are controversial, but I’m not here to tell you how to feel about it, only provide you with the information. Local fishermen feed the whale sharks regularly, and like any animal looking for an easy meal, the whale sharks hang out here while being fed. The sharks are wild in that they are in no way confined to the area, and the locals have a lot of rules about what you can and can’t do in the water with the sharks, such as no touching, no chasing, no flash photography and no motor boats. And, they limit the amount of time per day that these activities can be performed.
I’ve gone into detail in this article, but these are the basics. For a small fee you will be paddled out to the feeding area and allowed 30 minutes to snorkel with these sharks as fishermen feed them handfuls of krill. Most of the sharks are juveniles, but even a small whale shark is pretty darn big. It’s a very easy activity and seems to be pretty well-managed. For most people, it’s a true delight to see these gentle giants so close and swim just feet away from them.
Dolphin and whale watching
About two hours away from the resort, between Negros and Cebu Islands is a waterway inhabited by several dolphin pods and whales. Atmosphere can get you there early in the morning when there’s a good chance you’ll see spotted, bottlenose, and spinner dolphins, alongside pygmy and dwarf sperm whales, melon-headed whales, pygmy killer whales and pilot whales, making for a truly exciting morning for anyone who enjoys dolphin and whale watching.
After spending so much time in the water, you might want to try flying through the air. About 30 minutes from the resort, near Valencia, is the aptly names Rush Zipline. For 600 yards you can fly through the trees with the ease of Tarzan — only a little safer, since you’ll be securely strapped to a high density cable. You do get a choice of riding styles, which in my experience is quite unusual. You can go the normal way, but you can also try the Superman or inverted, and even tandem.
Valencia Hot Springs and Pulang Bato Waterfall
While you’re in Valencia, check out the hot springs and local waterfall. Naturally hot and slightly sulfurous, the Valencia Hot Springs are manmade pools fed by a natural spring. The nearby Pulang Bato waterfall is a perfect way to cool off after a dip in the hot water.
How about a three hour tour of the mountains via an ATV? This topside activity takes guests by volcanic hot springs, through a tropical rain forest, and provides amazing views of the ocean and nearby islands of Apo and Siquijor, all with a little adrenaline rush to boot.
This waterfall is the largest of its kind nearby, and also a little harder to get to — we paired it with the Oslob visit. At 120 feet (40 m) tall, these falls are quite impressive. The downside is that it’s a bit of a hike to get to and, more importantly, to get back from. You must trek down 300 stairs to get to the water, then boulder-hop around and over the river to get to the falls itself. It’s well worth the effort, but do keep in mind that you’ll have to go back up those 300 stairs to get back to the van, so be sure to cool yourself off well in the water at the bottom before starting the arduous journey back up.
Atmosphere can arrange any of these trips and transport you via an air-conditioned van, with a picnic lunch and a private guide. Any of these are a great way to spend a dry day, or just to see a bit more of the amazing Philippines.
For a glimpse of the resort and all that it offers, check out our video below: